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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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this confidence,, then the repercussions will be felt by us all.
" Both these countries, I have said, are our Allies. We entered this
war of our own free-will., by our own deed, in fulfilment of our guarantees
to Poland . . . We have, as the war has progressed, felt a growing, not only
esteem, but affection for our Polish Allies : for those we have known, and
for those we have seen in this country, and for their armed forces, and for the
gallantry of the part that they have played. There is something more than
that; we have seen also that, of all the countries that have been under the
harrow of this war, Poland has, perhaps suffered most of all.
<( On the other side, we have our 20 years' treaty with Russia. We
understand, and we believe that they understand and other nations under-
stand, how much the future peace of Europe is going to depend upon our
ability to work together and to understand each other. We'remember that
in three great wars we have fought together on the same side in the end,
although we may not have begun as Allies, and that after each of them, we
have fallen apart. We know that if that happens again, the prospects for
the peace of Europe are very frail indeed. Those considerations have to
be in our minds when we face this problem as we have to face it now.
" So it is that, ever since the German attack on Russia in the summer of
1941, we have laboured unceasingly to try to solve these Polish-Soviet
differences. We have not been successful always, but we have been suc-
cessful sometimes. It was here in London, actually in my room at the
Foreign Office, that the Soviet-Polish Treaty was signed, in the summer of
1941. Despite a chequered history, many differences, arguments, criticisms
and charges and counter-charges, that Treaty did stand until February
last year, when it was denounced—I do not know whether i denounced ' is
the right word—or when, rather, it was regarded as in abeyance by the
Soviet Government. Ever since then, we have tried to bring about a
resumption of relations. Sometimes we seemed to be almost in sight of
the goal and at others the prospects became gloomy again . . . Now I have
to report that the prospects are not as good as they have been, but we shall
continue to do all we can to secure a strong and independent Poland as our
Ally, and, as we trust, the Ally of Soviet Russia. ... I want to deal with
another point that has been made. There has never been, I must emphasise,
in this discussion in London, from the Soviet side, any suggestion that, as a
result of any arrangement which might be made between Russia and our-
selves, Poland's links with the West should in any way be modified or affected.
On the contrary, Marshal Stalin emphasised to M. Mikolajczyk his desire
that the Treaty with ourselves and the Polish treaty with France and
relations that were possible between Poland and the United States, subject
to the constitutional position of the United States, should be continued and
if need be reinforced. I think he has said that publicly and I think that
should be stressed because it is not in my judgment true to suggest that the
Soviet Government desires that the Polish State and Government should
be, as it were, in her orb and have no territorial or political links with other
Governments.
" I come to slightly more controversial ground. I shall try to give a
brief account and I hope an accurate account of the story of the Curzon
Line . . . What was the origin of this Line ? It was originally drawn up by
the Commission on Polish Affairs of the Paris Supreme Council. They
drew it up to make the eastern limit of what was indisputably Polish terri-
tory so that the Polish Government could immediately take over the admini-
stration in that area without question, even while the position in relation to
Russia was obscure. That was in 1919, and the proposal became associated
with Lord Curzon's name only a year later, when this proposal was pulled
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